Martino: Vote on the Term Limits Questions

On October 18th the local section of the Palm Beach Post contained a news article, “Council terms may be capped”. It highlighted the November 4th, Palm Beach Gardens ballot initiative for TERM LIMITS. I found the article to be informative, as well as, revealing. The information was appreciated and should help Gardens residents to better understand the Term Limit issue.

I compliment the citizen’s group that finally succeeded in bringing the term limit initiative to the ballot for Gardens residents to cast their vote, “YES” or “NO”.   As a long time Gardens resident I am resigned to the fact that it is time for term limits for our City Council representatives. So I will be casting a”YES” vote to both questions.

What I found revealing was the comments and quotes from the three long-time City Council members, 25-year veteran Joe Russo, 22-year member Eric Jablin, and 11-year officeholder David Levy. According to Russo and Levy it takes 5 to 6 years to learn the job. Levy laments, “I had no idea what a City Council member did … didn’t understand budgets, zoning, or impact fees.” Jablin says incumbents have been reelected because they are doing a good job. In more caustic comments Jablin says, “The people who are behind this have run against us and lost … they can’t beat the competition, so they want to eliminate it.”

To Mr. Russo and Mr. Levy I reply, if it takes a person 6 years to understand the basic responsibilities of the City Council that person should not be a candidate to begin with. Having witnessed the current City Council’s confusion during the recent 2015 budget meetings, it is my opinion, that after 25 years of incumbency the City Council still may not understand the processes of creating a City budget.

To Mr. Jablin I say, no one has said, and term limits certainly will not, eliminate the competition for votes. Term limits will simply make the competition for votes somewhat fairer for all contestants, and not just incumbents. Open for debate is the supposition that current incumbents have been re-elected because they have done a good job. Part of that debate is the very real possibility that the current incumbents have been re-elected not solely based on the good job hypothesis but due to block voting in certain sections of the City.

To the registered voters of Palm Beach Gardens I say, please search the ballot for the TERM LIMIT questions and vote, “YES” or “NO”.

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